I've read the threads similar to this question but find it doesn't quite match up to our situation. We are a couple looking to return to Africa for safari as a tenth-anniversary celebration. Our first trip was to Kenya in March 2002, which we very much enjoyed and from which we learned so much. Life-changing, as many say.
We are debating between returning to Kenya (and possibly adding Tanzania) or going to S Africa and going on safari in private reserves near Kruger, as well as going to Botswana, and also a trip to Victoria Falls. The trip would be approximately 18-21 days total, including the LOOONG flight from Hawaii.
1) TIME OF YEAR FOR GAME VIEWING--charts I've consulted indicate the later we can go in June, the better, and S Africa seems to have a slight edge.
2) TIME OF YEAR AND STAYING WARM--we are tropical climate residents and are a little leery of the lows in S Africa this time of year (particularly when we read things like "central heating is unheard of").
3) CROWDS--we didn't like being surrounded by humans so much in Kenya--lots of tourists, lots of vehicles running around--it was a touch like Yellowstone in summer. S Africa seems to have the edge on this one. Is this correct? Or are there places where we can feel more on our own in Kenya? We are also considering, in either location, a private rather than group tour (because of 9/11, our last Kenya trip ended up being a private tour because we were the only ones that showed up, but that sure didn't mean we weren't surrounded by vehicles in the parks).
4) COST--This will likely be our last trip of any significant length, let alone to Africa, for the foreseeable future (unless we do vacation swapping--not an option on this one!). We want to do it in a way very suited to our desires, even if it means spending a little more. Seeing animals, spending time in the wild, spending time in nature and quiet are the top ones. Smaller lodges are a very close second. What budget is reasonable for each location?
If you sense a bias in these questions, you're right on the money: I'm leaning toward S Africa--spouse is leaning toward Kenya. But I'm shooting in the dark--sure would like to hear from people who have been to both.
Mahalo for your help!
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